Till date, Royal Enfield has been creating and selling motorcycles which have been managed to retain the heritage and retro appeal of the motorcycles which it used to sell in the yesteryears. Though all of its motorcycles now use contemporary components, features and powertrain, they still look as if they are stuck to the original models as far as design, appeal and functionality are concerned.
Also, all of the motorcycles by Royal Enfield are destined to take only the smooth patches of roads, whether of short or long distance. This means that, Royal Enfield was absent from the scene of the now very dwelling segment of adventure tourers. Royal Enfield did feel the sense of an adventure motorcycle in its product portfolio, which is why it took nearly four years to properly engineer and design its first ever such motorcycle, the all new Himalayan.
The Himalayan brings a lot of new things to the table – an all new engine, all new chassis, all new design language, and most importantly, all new functionality of performing on both on and off road terrains with equal ease. Here’s our comprehensive review of the all new Royal Enfield Himalayan.
We must make you aware that the Royal Enfield Himalayan is not designed to win any beauty pageant, but to make you sure that you have bought this motorcycle for a purpose – a fact which it successfully manages to instill in your mind the moment you see it. The bare bones philosophy which Royal Enfield has adopted for this motorcycle goes well for the Himalayan.
At the front, the motorcycle looks tall enough to take any terrains with composure, with the high mounted headlamp, a transparent visor sitting atop of it and the high mounted body colored fender giving it a rough personality. The Himalayan, though, comes with an additional proper mudguard like any other conventional motorcycle. The small rectangular turn indicators have been shared with the Continental GT.
From the sides, the motorcycle continues its minimalist and boring them, with the small high mounted fuel tank, which gets additional supports on its either sides for placement of small panniers or canisters. The visible tubular frame, trapezoidal blackened side body panels with ‘Himalayan’ embossed on it and the non-existence of rear body panels enhance its functionality. At the rear, the motorcycle comes with a full proper mudguard, which is body colored and mounts the small rectangular tail lamp which is encased within a golden housing. In addition, there is a pannier holder mounted on the tubular frame behind the pillion seat, in case you need to carry additional saddlebags or panniers. The spoke wheels as well as engine are painted in black, whereas the meaty exhaust pipe comes finished in silver.
The instrument console of the Himalayan is easily the most comprehensive among all the Royal Enfield motorcycles put together, with the complete panel having analog dials for speedometer, tachometer and fuel gauge, with the unit of speedometer encasing an LCD screen for digital readouts of odometer, trip meters, gear indicator, clock and engine temperature. The console also consists of a digital compass besides the fuel gauge, something which is missing in all the motorcycles at or around its price point.
Overall, the design of the Royal Enfield Himalayan may be felt as an ugly one, but in reality, the motorcycle tries to showcase its capabilities and create a welcoming first impression with its functional and minimalist design only.
Unlike the 350cc and 499cc engines which Royal Enfield has been using for all of its motorcycles till date, the Himalayan has been blessed with an all new long stroke motor. The engine, which has been christened as LS410, is basically a stroked out version of the 350cc engine of the Classic or Thunderbird – this four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 411cc engine has the ability to churn out a maximum power output of 24.7 PS and a maximum torque output of 32 Nm.
The engine is very different in feel as compared to the rest of the engines of Royal Enfield, something which you can feel the moment you prod the self starter button. The engine has a different snarl, unlike the ‘dug dug’ exhaust note the Royal Enfields are reminiscent of. Mated to a five speed transmission, the engine is tuned for a strong low end torque, which Royal Enfield says that it will be more than sufficient always to clear obstacles while riding at lower revs.
The Himalayan promises to bring a whole new image of Royal Enfield with its dynamics and suspension setup. The motorcycle comes with an all new half-duplex split cradle frame, which is strengthened to take all the rough obstacles with calmness. The suspension setup includes 41mm telescopic front forks and a linked hydraulic monoshock, with much longer suspension travels of 200mm and 180mm.
The 21-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear wheel are basically spoke wheels here, which are quite more beneficiary while tackling rough sections of tarmac. The overall ride setup is stiff for the city riding, but once you hit the off-road terrains, the Himalayan comes in an altogether different element, and surprises you with its generous abilities. The Himalayan is equipped with 300mm front disc brake and a 240mm rear disc brake, which sadly, don’t get ABS.
The Royal Enfield Himalayan has unveiled with the Indian market being the most key market for its global sales and appeal. Unlike all of its otherwise pricey models, the Himalayan has been competitively priced at Rs. 1.55 lakh, which makes it the most affordable hardcore adventure motorcycle in the country today. Considering its no-nonsense appeal, the Himalayan has been launched with only two color options – Snow (white) and Granite (matt black).
And there’s a catch – for the time being, the Himalayan’s LS410 engine is compliant to only BSIII norms, which makes it unfit to be ridden in the city of New Delhi. That’s a shame, for the fact that the Himalayan has immense potential to be sold in healthy numbers in the capital region, considering its geographical proximity to Himalayas – the perfect playground for the Himalayan.
Though there is no other adventure motorcycle as hardcore as the Royal Enfield Himalayan in the price bracket to which it belongs, but in terms of overall functionality and purpose, the one motorcycle which manages to match its demeanor is the Mahindra Mojo. Compared to the bare bones design of the Himalayan, the Mojo is a proper tourer motorcycle which has the persona of a street fighter, with the dual headlamps, daytime running LEDs, alloy wheels, muscular body panels and twin exhaust pipes raising its visual appeal.
The Mahindra Mojo comes with a four stroke, single cylinder, liquid cooled, 296cc motor, which produces 28 PS of power and 30 Nm of torque. The engine, like the Himalayan, is tuned to produce a stronger low end grunt, but the overall acceleration figures of Mojo are better than the Himalayan. Where the Mojo feels more at home on highways and smooth sections of tarmac, the Himalayan has the ability to take you places both on and off road with its longer suspension travels and off-road tyres. The overall braking experience of both the motorcycles is nearly the same, with the Mojo getting better petal disc brakes.
With the Himalayan, Royal Enfield has opened up an all new chapter in its glorious book of functional motorcycles, with the overall appeal of the motorcycle being drastically different from its rest of the other stable mates. The overall design of the Himalayan may not be an eye pleasing one, and may not command a second glance, but the fact that it is designed for a purpose seals the deal.
Comparing with what all engines Royal Enfield has in its other motorcycles, the Himalayan’s LS410 motor remains vibe free for most of the times and is easily the best engine Royal Enfield has ever made, thus showing a huge improvement Royal Enfield has undergone in this particular department. And when it comes to riding dynamics, the Himalayan completely outshines with its capabilities of tackling off-road sections with complete ease, something which no other motorcycle in its price range dared to do. Adding the killer price tag, the Royal Enfield Himalayan is surely a fresh change in the motorcycling world, and is destined to only increase the popularity and brand appeal of Royal Enfield.